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 New mid-size drainage based bin. :) 
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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:46 am
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Post New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Just started my indoor composting here in MSP. I've got a few grubs online. They arrived cold, but thanks to my lurking here i quickly used a hair dryer to warm them up and they went from very still to wriggling and eating some bread scraps pretty quickly. Unfortunately I've made the rookie mistake of adding meat too early, so now it smells a bit around here. but the larva seem to be doing ok. I've already seen one or two start to go black. :) Luckily i got my permanent bin up in time before they went to fly mode.

I'm using a large plastic tub which a pvc ramp which dumps into a bag directly from an elbow.
The drainage pipe is sitting on a low bed of rocks from a recent landscaping project.
I've got a piece of cardboard under the bin on top of which is a seedling heating pad as our basement gets a bit cold.
There is also a light for the fly bin. It is a "daylight 2000 lumen" led floodlamp. Hopefully that works well.
The larva bin is under the fly bin which i've connected with two holes through the bins and put some wire mesh over them to hopefully prevent fly escapes.
The light and heat mat are on a timer which turns them on from 4pm to 8pm.
Overall, the grubs seem to be doing well and I'm excited to be composting. :)

Let me know what ya think. :D


Attachments:
File comment: trial bin. :)
bsfl 1.jpg
bsfl 1.jpg [ 80.6 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
File comment: first black larva in trial bin
bsfl 2.jpg
bsfl 2.jpg [ 46.85 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
File comment: front view of bin
bsfl 3.jpg
bsfl 3.jpg [ 70.67 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
File comment: side view of bin
bsfl 4.jpg
bsfl 4.jpg [ 69.51 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
File comment: Interior view of bin
bsfl 5.jpg
bsfl 5.jpg [ 56.2 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
File comment: Final bin in place. :)
bsfl 6.jpg
bsfl 6.jpg [ 59.16 KiB | Viewed 5762 times ]
Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:31 pm
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Welcome Britvulcan. Jerry has had good success with his bin so it will be interesting to see how you do. How many larvae did you start with? Over feeding is a danger when you're starting out and I would stay away from meat too until your population of larvae grows significantly.

One potential problem with your bin is the ramp. The larvae do not seek out the ramp but sort of stumble upon it as they circle the bin crawling along the bottom of the walls. As your bin fills the bottom of the ramp will be some distance from the wall and the prepupal larvae are liable to miss it. In Jerry's original design the ramp is attached to the side wall.

I think I see a larval barrier made from velcro around the top of the bin?

In your fly bin are you going to provide egg traps and transfer them manually to the lower bin? I'm not sure I understand how their life cycle will work if you have the two sections separated by wire mesh.

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BorealWormer

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Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:35 pm
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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:46 am
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Thanks for the tips!
Yeah.. overfeeding may end up being an issue, and I may end up having to start over again, but that is as it is. A bit late to undo at this point. Hah. Though they seem to actually be processing the meat that is in there and I won't be feeding for at least a week or until they work through most of what they have right now.


I started out with ~1000 larva. The bottom of the bin is mostly filled with rock and any organics are spread out over the rock to more or less form a single layer at the moment. The organics had been held in tupperware, so it's a bit anerobic at the moment, but should improve shortly as the bin and rock base will provide a decent air flow. Again, so far the larva are doing well.

We'll have to wait and see how the ramp does. I could potentially add a strip of plastic to connect it to the side, but that would also make the bin harder to clean out later. We'll see. :) There is a velcro larval barrier at the top which will help at least with keeping them contained.

As for the life cycle. I have 2mm coroplast egg traps in place over the mesh such that the fly should smell the frass and lay eggs in the traps which will then fall through to the lower bin when the larva hatch. If that doesn't work i'll just rotate the traps.


Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:45 pm
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Britvulcan wrote:
... I have 2mm coroplast egg traps in place over the mesh such that the fly should smell the frass and lay eggs in the traps which will then fall through to the lower bin when the larva hatch.
That might work.. There have been reports of BSFL in septic systems where it was thought the gravid females had laid eggs at the screened air vents.

Keep posting with updates :D

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BorealWormer

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Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:00 am
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Will do!

I've got the heater on a timer. Checked on the bsfl this morning and the bin was pretty cold and they were alive but huddled and sluggish. Decided to up the heat time from 4 hours to about 14 hours since the basement is very cold (50-60 degrees). We'll see how that goes in a couple hours. :) Hopefully i won't have to go to 24 hrs for energy and safety reasons, but we'll see. The rocks should act as a heat mass to get them through the night.


Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:04 pm
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Holy Frijoles do I have an update for you. :)

I decided a couple weeks ago that 1000 BSFL wasn't enough to start a breeding colony. (They were taking too long for enough to pupate.) Got another 5k in. started a very small sized bin (pics later) in which to fatten those up in the warm upstairs. Also got a ceramic space heater for the basement side room. Recently (over the christmas holiday) transferred the 5k bsfl to the basement mid-size bin. Didn't feed them for a bit to let them catch up. (Aka houseguests for 5 days). Went back and checked today and things were looking nice and dark brown. Got some more food down from the collection bin in the kitchen. Opened the lid and what did i find? Two! 2 full grown black soldier flies hanging out in the larva bin. And a couple larva crawling up the drainage tube looking for a place to pupate. As well as some (probably unfertilized) eggs in the crack between the lid and the bin. Woo! Making progress and it looks like the space is finally warm enough for them.


Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:00 pm
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Post Re: New mid-size drainage based bin. :)
Good stuff and best wishes for more success in the new year.

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BorealWormer

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Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:11 pm
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